Now that we’ve set the clocks ahead, our minds turn to tender dandelion greens and slender ramps, but until the local growing season gets under way, we’ll have to bide time with forced bulbs and unusual bananas.
What to Look For
The steady shad-roe season should run into April, with the roe getting larger and larger. Dense, rich, and slightly reminiscent of liver, the fish egg sacs come in pairs and are now about the size of a hot-dog bun. (Supplies are always limited; reserve some through the Wild Edibles shad-roe e-mail list.) Sauté in butter or try wrapping them in bacon (recipe) ($19.99 per pair at Wild Edibles).
Late-ripening, bumpy-skinned organic golden nugget tangerines are streaming in from California. Seedless, easy to peel, plump with juice, and bright with acidity, they’re the citrus to seek out now (widely available).
There are over 1,000 different banana varieties beyond the standard Cavendish. The sweet, mahogany-colored red banana, with its sticky, taupe interior and notes of vanilla and spice, is ideal for coconut-based Southeast Asian desserts. Finger-size baby bananas are dense, with a more concentrated, creamy flavor and drier texture that holds up well in fruit salads (red bananas are $1.99 per pound at Garden of Eden; baby bananas are 99 cents per pound at the Manhattan Fruit Exchange).
On days when the weather is above freezing and the wind is low, you’ll find pots of budding daffodils and crocuses at the Union Square Greenmarket (plants are $4 from Fantastic Gardens in Union Square, available Fridays and Saturdays, weather permitting).
Ripe for the Moment
Hot Cross buns, studded with candied fruit and crossed with a sugary glaze, are popping up at bakeries in advance of Good Friday. Settepani in Williamsburg makes a light briochelike version suitable for breakfast; William Greenberg, meanwhile, offers a hefty, fruit-loaded, cakelike option (buns from Settepani are $1.50 each at Dean & DeLuca; William Greenberg sells them for $3.25). — Zoe Singer